Thursday, July 19, 2012

Alu wadi / Patra / Colocasia rolls

Patra (made from colocasia leaves) is a very common Gujarati snack that is available for sale at all the "farsan" shops alongside dhokla, khandvi, fafda and jalebi. My maternal grandmother used to make patras at home and I learnt how to make these sometime back. Sharing the recipe:

Two bunches of colocasia leaves (about 25 nos.)
About 150 gm. chickpea flour
50 gm. tamarind
50 gm. jaggery
Ginger, garlic and green chilli paste- 1 tablespoon in all
Salt and red chilli powder to taste
A tablespoon of sesame seeds, teaspoon of black mustard, a pinch each of asafoetida and turmeric, 3-4 dry red chillies and 3 tablespoons of oil for tadka / tempering.

 Pictorial (clockwise) 


Take the tamarind and jaggery in a small bowl and microwave for 30-40 seconds with a cup of water. Keep aside and let it cool and then extract the pulp (add water as required to do so) by discarding the tamarind seeds and veins.

Take the chickpea flour in a mixing bowl. Add tamarind-jaggery water, ginger-garlic-green chilli paste, salt, pinch of asafoetida, red chilli powder. Mix well to a thick batter consistency by adding very litter water at a time (and chickpea flour to adjust the consistency if required).

Soak the colocasia (patra or alu) leaves in a large container filled with water and some salt, then wash well in running water. De-vein the leaves from the pale-green / back side. The bright-green surface of the leaves shown in photo 1 is the front side and the batter is applied to the other side. To de-vein, scrap the thick mid-vein and the first two-three thickish lateral veins with a knife. Apply the batter to this de-veined side.

Clean the kitchen platform well and then spread the biggest leaf, the de-veined, posterior face up. Evenly apply the batter on the surface. Then place the next leaf, also posterior face up but with the pointed edge of the leaf facing the opposite side of the previous leaf. I have made a diagram to make things simpler.

Apply batter on the second leaf, and go on arranging about 10-15 leaves in the same manner. Then begin to roll. Press very rightly and firmly as you roll up. You may tied the roll with a thread, but that's optional.

Next, steam the rolls in an idli-container or the vessel used to steam momos and dumplings. You can also steam the rolls by arraning them on a large seive (cover it with a lid) that is placed above a vessel of boiling water. Once the rolls are well-steamed (will take about 25 minutes), they will change colour distinctly and look a dull dark green and will appear somewhat shrunk and sorry (see photo 3 above). Do not worry.

Immediately remove the rolls on a dish and let them cool well, leave aside for at least 30 minutes or more for the excess moisture to evaporate. Once cooled properly, you can also put rolls in the fridge and resume the next part of the recipe just before serving. The boiled patras can also last overnight in fridge.

Next, cut the cooled patra rolls as shown in photo 3 with a good knife and swift, sharp cuts.

We usually saute the patras cuts in some oil tempered with mustard seeds, dry red chillies, garlic and sesame seeds (shown in photo 4). However, in Maharastra many prefer these deep-fried (photo 6). I deep-fried the stuff after I got to know of this preference. :)

Serve with raw mango chutney (as shown in photo 5) or ketchup. Tastes best with a glass of piping-hot chai.

Coming up next: Methi na Dhebra (Fenugreek and millet flour pancakes) :-)

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